Huawei 5.5G network equipment to boost IoT

Chaobin Yang, Board Member, President of ICT Products & Solutions, Huawei

June 28, 2023

Huawei will launch a complete set of commercial equipment for 5.5G networks in 2024 to take a step forward in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry. According to the company, there are already more than 260 commercial 5G networks worldwide today, serving more than 1.2 billion users. F5G (fixed) gigabit networks total 115 million users.

Huawei is proposing the “5.5G Era” concept based on a comprehensive solution that integrates technologies such as 5.5G, F5.5G, and Net5.5G. According to the company, the solution will protect operators’ previous investments in 5G as well as improve performance by 10 times. This new phase will offer peak downlink speeds of 10 gigabits and peak uplink speeds in the gigabit range to serve increasingly diverse services.

The new 5.5G Era will also embrace new technologies such as passive IoT to drive a market of 100 billion IoT connections. The concept of passive IoT refers to the segment that comprises smaller and cheaper sensors compared to previous generations of IoT. In addition, it is more environmentally friendly as it uses energy collected from the environment where it operates.

“With a clearly defined standardization schedule, the 5.5G Era is already ready for technology and commercial verification. By 2024, Huawei will release a complete set of 5.5G network equipment ready for commercial deployment. We look forward to working with all industry players and embarking on this new journey toward the 5.5G Era,” said Yang Chaobin, director and president of ICT products and solutions at Huawei.

Huawei has been working with several industry companies in the areas of Research & Development and verification of key 5.5G technologies. In the Chinese giant’s view, significant progress has already been made in this verification process, specifically in the ELAA (Extremely Large Antenna Array) field, one of the most promising 5.5G technologies that brings together hundreds or even thousands of antennas at the base station (BS) to work spectrally efficiently. It supports 10 gigabit downlink, flexible spectrum access that enables gigabit uplink, and 100 billion IoT connections.

Another important 5.5G technology is 50G PON (50 Gigabit Passive Optical Network), which enables 10 gigabit speeds for F5.5G ultra-wideband networks and could be widely used in homes, campuses, and production areas in the future. Huawei says it is working with more than 30 carriers worldwide on technology verification and application pilots for these technologies.

Of course IA was not forgotten

In addition to developing technologies for 5.5G wireless and optical networks, Huawei announced that it is investing in applying native Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in 5.5G core networks to continuously improve capabilities and availability. This will enable AI capabilities to be delivered at the edges of networks to better serve various industries. Net5.5G promises 10 gigabit access, ultra-wideband transport, and latency in the microsecond range in AI networks, serving as next-generation networks for high-end industrial digitization.

6G networks are still in the early stages of development. That is why, in Huawei’s view, many will look to 5.5G networks as the next step to gain more productivity. The new 5.5G devices were presented during MWC Shanghai 2023, held from June 28-30.

More about F5G and F5.5G

The F5G standard was officially launched in 2020 by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) along with the “Fiber to Everywhere” vision, with three main technical attributes: enhanced fixed broadband (eFBB), full-fiber connection (FFC), and guaranteed reliable experience (GRE).

The wide bandwidth, low latency, stable transmission, and anti-interference capabilities of F5G have enabled many industries to become more digital and intelligent, such as transportation, energy, education, and healthcare, spanning dozens more application scenarios. According to Huawei, more than 20,000 enterprises worldwide have deployed offices connected entirely by fiber-optic cables, as well as all-fiber-optic industrial networks interconnecting machines (FTTM).

Several industry players have begun discussing the next generation of fixed networks for industrial environments. With a paper published by ETSI in September 2022, a step was taken towards standardization of F5G Advanced. Nine applications or industry trends were identified as the key drivers for F5G Advanced, grouped into two categories: those focused on services and applications and those focused on network transformation. According to ETSI, immersive ultra-definition experience may impose many new requirements on networks. In addition, enterprises will continue their digitization and cloudification processes, which represents a great opportunity for fixed networks.

Meanwhile, in April 2022, Huawei proposed the F5.5G concept to enhance the technical attributes of F5G and include three new features: green agile optical network (GAO), real-time resilient link (RRL), and optical sensing & visualization (OSV).

According to Huawei, there are four main benefits of F5.5G. The first is the speed upgrade from gigabits to 10 gigabits ubiquitous. Secondly, connectivity becomes more reliable and real-time, with latency at the microsecond level and 99.9999% availability. The third point is that electrical solutions will be replaced by optical networks that are 10 times more energy efficient and sustainable. Fourthly, it will be possible to evolve from optical communication to optical sensing.

Huawei warns that collaboration across the industry is necessary to set the direction of F5G evolution, enrich F5.5G application scenarios, and thus ensure further advances in the fixed network sector that can serve as the basis for a smarter world in the future.